American Airlines loves me

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Deepest apologies to my blog readers (Ok mostly Kiva and Melanie) for the lack of updates lately, but once I post this you will understand why!  I finally had some free weekends in my schedule, and decided it was time to spend time with friends and family while it was still relatively easy to do so.

Side note, I’d been wanting to do a post about the Cherry Blossoms in DC, but as it turns out, I don’t care to write a big article on the subject, it sat in my drafts folder for weeks.  Instead I will share these brief thoughts and a lovely photo:

  • Beautiful!!
  • Crowded
  • Tourists with strollers
  • Lots of people own super expensive SLRs now, but it seems few people know how to use them.

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So, on to my trips.  First of all, I’ve gotten a few questions lately about how I keep snagging first class seats, and no it has nothing at all to do with my job.  Perhaps my dear KT Nelso can tell me why, but for some reason I was temporarily upgraded to American Airlines Gold status for about six months, and AA loaded my account full of upgrade options as well.  So for all of these flights I’ve taken lately, I’ve been able to get the awesome seats that normally you have to pay extra for, (aka extra leg room, towards the front of the plane, etc) and if on the day of the flight there are spaces left in First Class, I can be upgraded.  It has happened twice so far and it was everything I hoped it would be.  Bloody Marys, fruit and croissants for breakfast, fresh(ish) cookies, and more space than I rightfully need.  I’m afraid I’ve run into kind of a Flowers for Algernon situation where I now know how the other half lives, and find it difficult to go back to normal ol’ coach.  First world problems, my friends.

Easter weekend was first, and I flew from DC to Willard, a tiny airport in Champaign/Urbana.  I got off the airplane and was greeted by my sisters and Lex Danger, with a freshly-drawn picture of a rainbow to welcome me back to IL.  We headed back to Philo (while Lex decided that Aunt Shannon’s new nickname should be Princess Sparkle Rainbow Unicorn,) and I spent the rest of the weekend surrounded by my family!  We had the Cains over for drinks and snacks on Saturday evening, where cousin Sarah decided it was time for an Easter Egg Hunt…but this time it would be for adults.

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Sarah has twins and two jobs and somehow found time to create adult-themed Easter eggs for this huge crew, they were filled with such items as beer coozies, Shout wipes, condoms, candles, shot glasses, Icy Hot, etc.  It was one for the record books, my friends.   Great seeing all of the Cains together again, I’ll miss that crazy bunch for sure!!

***

On Easter Sunday we went to Mass at St. Thomas (packed house!) and then headed to the Stierwalts for lunch, more egg hunts (this time for the children, lame,) and more family time.  I stuffed myself silly with ham, mashed potatoes, noodles, mac and cheese, scalloped pineapple, broccoli and rice casserole, and Shannon’s little bunny rolls that were kind of a cross between bunnies and gremlins.

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As usual, I loved visiting with the Stierwalts and discussing every last detail of my upcoming move.  They’re a pretty adventurous bunch so I tried my best to talk them into jetting over to Sarajevo sometime in the next couple years…not sure I did the job.  I’m still working on them!  Sadly I had to head back to DC, so Shannon dropped me off at the airport and I headed back to my empty apartment.  It was so great to be home, to see little Lex and Syd in their Easter dresses, to give my parents the biggest hugs I could, and to hang with these crazy kids.

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Oh and in case anyone is wondering, I would totally freeze to death if I ever got sent to a post where I was forced to chop my own wood to stay alive during the winter.  Exhibit A:

***

The next weekend, after a particularly tough week of training here at State, I headed off to Chicago to visit my college friends that live in that area.  They all have such big things going on in their lives, from having babies, to making babies, planning huge vacations abroad, getting masters degrees, and shaping the young minds of America, and I was desperate to go see them and catch up!

I flew into O’Hare Airport (side note: I hate flying into O’Hare.  hate. hate. hate) pretty late at night, and made my way to the rental car lot.  As it turns out, when you get past the age of 27ish, it no longer seems appropriate for you to beg your adult friends to pick you up at the airport.  The crazy thing is, if I had asked them, I’m sure they would have done it, but if I can rent a car for $17 a day to save them the hassle, why not?  I collected my keys to this lovely Chevy Sonic, a car that I didn’t even know was a thing.

ImageI made my way to the south suburbs of Chicago where I was able to cuddle with adorable little babies (you guys, my friends make CUTE kids) and catch up with my squirrels and non-squirrels that are basically squirrels by extension.  I enjoyed some Portillos, natch, and enjoyed my friends company even more.  Here’s a pic (stolen from Ashley!) of some of the gang at Jeri’s baby shower, and thanks to Dave for pointing out that I am the only one that didn’t get the “wear patterns” memo.  Strangely enough, this was not the first time that has happened to me:

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So those were my two weekends of jet setting back and forth between Illinois, will follow up with a post about the Reinhardts visiting me here in DC!  😀

-B

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